Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/369

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CHRISTMAS IN TAHITI.

are equally pleasant when a party of British sailors go past! Then the echoes that linger on the ear are sanguinary and repulsive; a painful contrast to the musical speech of the natives.

The Shah is fortunate in possessing, in the Rev. —— Reed, a chaplain who is exceedingly popular with all on board, and who takes an immense interest in all that concerns his flock. Besides the regular band, he has trained one specially to accompany sacred music; and the church choir is said to be excellent. It would have been really pleasant to have heard our own Church service on Christmas Day. By some fatality I have not had that privilege since leaving England; last Christmas Day having been spent in the hateful work of transhipping on our way from Fiji to New Zealand; and the previous one was spent in the mountains of great Fiji. It has been the same as regards Easter. We had to sail from Marseilles on Easter morning 1875. Easter of 1876 was spent in a little Fijian village in the isle of Koro, and Easter 1877 among the geysers of northern New Zealand. Where they may next find me, who can tell?

I must close my letter that it may be sent on board the Daring at daybreak. The pretty Tahitian girls are working all to-night to finish arrowroot or bamboo fibre hats as parting gifts to the friends whom they will probably never meet again. "Telle est la vie!"—Good-night.

Your Loving Sister.




CHAPTER XXIII.

THE ATOLL GROUP OF TETIAROA.

Fautawa, Tahiti, Christmas Day.

A glad Christmas to you all, dear people! Would that some good fairy could lend me a wishing-cap, that I might look in by turns on each home gathering in the various corners of England and Scotland. These marked anniversaries are always trying days,